Will Guerra and Roslyn Bonnar
Chelmsford Public Schools
One thing we are passionate about:
We are passionate about creating an atmosphere where students are excited to learn about the Earth. Our daily lesson planning focuses on the best way to teach content, but we value the experience of the class just as much. We strive to make each day a memorable experience, and to bring smiles. Specifically, we create this environment with frequent, eye-catching demonstrations, games, and movement based activities. Nearly every unit has some sort of dance to help students remember concepts, most review sessions include an exciting game, and we always find time for more chemical reactions. It is so much fun to show students something that they have never seen before! We both believe that happy and engaged students are easiest to teach, so bringing fun into the room is an essential part of our teaching.
- We use Edmodo as a platform for posting all class materials, and also for providing a digital classroom where students can interact with us outside of the normal school day. They are able to ask questions, share information, and generally feel connected to the class. In addition to posting homework and PowerPoints, we post pictures, stories, fun links to science tools and news stories, and TONS of classroom resources.
- We use Quizlet to create vocabulary lists for students to study the essential terms of the class. Learning the basic vocabulary is a must in Science, and Quizlet allows students to study at the own rate anytime they want. We have seen major improvements in student comprehension through the regular use of Quizlet.
- We use YouTube to host our classroom videos (www.youtube.com/gbonsci). On our YouTube channel, you will find ~30 classroom videos that cover some of the more difficult concepts in class. Our overall goal in making these videos is to address a single concept in a short and memorable way. For example, we created a yoga routine to help students remember the key parts of plate tectonics, we melted crayons to show the rock cycle, and we created a dance to help students remember the relative energy levels in the 4 states of matter. Most videos are under 4 minutes, as we find that this is the best amount of time to hold the attention of 13-14 year-olds.
As our district is investigating the possibility of 1-1 devices, so we are planning out some of the many ways that we will use the devices in our classroom. We are excited about the possibility providing all students daily access to the countless digital resources available for supplementation of classroom instruction. Additionally, we are hopeful that instant feedback will better inform our teaching practice to reach all students.
I graduated from UMass Amherst in 2008 with a BS in Earth Systems Science and a BA in Geology, then attended Cornell University to complete a MS in Geology. While at Cornell, I completed research on environmental and climate change using lake sediment cores and tree rings. After graduate school, I worked for the Army Corps of Engineers in Baltimore, MD. My focus was primarily water quality. In 2012, I decided to pursue teaching and moved back to Massachusetts. Part time subbing landed me at McCarthy Middle School, in Chelmsford, MA, where I was later hired as an Earth Science teacher. I have never looked back! I love every day at McCarthy, and feel privileged to be able to teach a subject that I love. In addition to teaching, I have started two school clubs, the Science Olympiad Team (now ranked 6th in the state), and the track team. McCarthy is a wonderful place to work!
I graduated from UMass Amherst in 2002 with a BS in Geology – Earth Science Track and completion of the Secondary Teacher Education Program. I started teaching eighth grade Earth Science at McCarthy Middle School in Chelmsford, MA in the Fall of 2002. Since this was the school I attended as a young student, it was so exciting to be working in the classroom that sparked my interest in Geology and led me on my career path. Working along side seasoned teachers gave me the foundation and confidence to develop my own creative teaching style. In the past fourteen years, I’ve been fortunate to be a team facilitator and member of several committees representing my colleagues. I have also diligently kept up with current science knowledge and skills by attending out-of-district workshops to help create a fun and safe learning environment in my Earth Science classroom. In addition to my teaching duties, I am the coach of the Visual Ensemble with the Chelmsford High School Marching Band which affords me the opportunity to keep in touch with many of my former students. I look forward to coming to work every day and sharing my enthusiasm for science and learning with my students.